Cuddledown Life Tips & Trends

Winter Road Trip and the New York International Gift Fair

February 15, 2011 by

Snow, snow, go away…we’ve got work to do!

I had the pleasure of attending the New York Gift Fair last week.  We’ve recently moved the Cuddledown Freeport Store to a new; bigger and better location just down the street from our previous location and I was in search of store specific items to add to our customers’ choices. 

But this isn’t about what I found (which is going to be great!) but more about this crazy winter we’re having and how it turned an inconvenience into a truly memorable road trip.  I am always surprised by how a “crisis”, usually in the framework of a change of plans, can result in some great stories to tell. 

The vendors and the buyers were all a twitter (not Twitter…just “a twitter”) at the show as yet another snow storm was descending upon the East Coast.  Cell phones were burning brighter than usual as, amidst the buying and selling, thousands were trying to figure out if flights were going to happen.  The Cuddledown team had flown to New York on a 6am out of Portland and were scheduled to return on an 8pm the next day.  By the end of day one, our flight had already been cancelled and we had been rescheduled on a 4pm; cutting our trip short and causing us all to pick up the pace to reschedule meetings and get through the show.   We stayed in contact as we hustled in our different directions, only to find out, on the morning of departure, that our flight was once again cancelled and we had been put on a flight to Maine via Washington, DC. What?!?  Isn’t DC in the wrong direction?

We decided to brave the ice falling from the sky and regroup back at the hotel.  I was the last to arrive and my colleagues had picked up a stray…the charming Claudia Brahms, Creative Designer behind the beautiful Brahms Mount textiles produced just up the street (well, more like an hour) in Hallowell, Maine.  Claudia was in search of rescue and we were all in search of escape.  This storm was to be a doozy and, really, there’s nothing quite like a good snow storm when in Maine. We all had homes, significant others, children, and animals that would need help digging out.  We HAD to get home and being the hearty New England women (this particular group happened to be all women) that we are we decided to head out on our own…in a rental car…an Impala, to be exact; with one major defrosting design flaw. 

We were five, ranging somewhere between 30 and 55 (I think.)  We were acquaintances at best then, and certainly friends now.  It was a “cozy” trip with the 5 of us and our luggage.  It was a work day and one of us who shall remain anonymous (Michelle) was working at least two (we accused her of more) cell phones a good part of the trip; wheeling, dealing and taking care of customers.  We staggered the phone calls as everyone checked in with loved ones and got a wide variety of contradictory weather reports regarding the conditions we might expect on our journey.  Of course, we were thirsty, hungry, and needed a few comfort stops along the way.  We all remarked on the quality and care of driving that everyone on the road seemed to be exercising as we slowly progressed at 40 miles per hour.  Claudia, grateful for rescue, drove the entire 9+ hours without incident or alarm as she battled the constant icing of the windshield and slush on the roads. 

Claudia Brahms -Exceptional Winter Driver & Textile Designer

When 5 women of an industry are trapped in a small space for lengthy hours…well, let’s just say the problems of the world are solved and, certainly, the trends and foibles of the textile industry were discussed and debated ad infinitum!  We definitely know more about each other than professional acquaintances should…say no more!

There are many stories to tell but suffice it to say that I was very lucky to have hooked up with this particularly jolly and amenable group.  There is no doubt in my mind that with these women in charge, the economy will be fine and Cuddledown and our customers (and Brahms Mount) can expect many great years to come.  Happy winter everyone and don’t forget to visit us at the new store!

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